My Book! PLAYFUL: Fun Projects to Make With + For Kids

Friends I’ve been dropping a few hints here and there about some exciting things I’ve been working on this past year and I’ve been dying to share more images and reveal more details. And I’m happy to report that I can do so now! I  have a book coming out this fall!!! It’s titled PLAYFUL: Fun Projects to Make With + For Kids and is being published by gorgeous book maker Melanie Falick of STC Craft. Below is a shot of the tentative title page as well as a handful of teaser images from the book!

Mer Mag Book | PLAYFUL Toys and Crafts Made By HandTwo years ago, at my first ALT Summit, I was introduced to Melanie Falick by my friend Brooke Reynolds of Inchmark. I had the idea for making a kids craft book already buzzing around in my head so when Brooke suggested it as well, and recommended me to Melanie (a long time favorite publisher who makes beautiful books like this one, this, and this) I was more than excited and knew I was headed in the right direction. After working hard to make the best book proposal I could, I submitted it to Melanie and excitedly/anxiously waited to hear back. I can vividly remember the return phone call from Melanie. It was the summer of 2012 and all of my family was loaded in the car after spending the afternoon at Seven Peaks water park. My cellphone rang and I saw it was from NYC. I picked it up and I’m not sure what was said really other than….YOU’VE GOT A BOOK DEAL. When I hung up the phone, I looked over at Jon, paused and then screamed…I HAVE A BOOK DEAL!!!! He had to pull over so we could both scream a few more times. It was so exciting for me.

I love making beautiful things, maybe a bit obsessively so, and it’s been a dream to create my first kids DIY  toy and craft book. I had such a specific vision for this book. I knew I wanted it to be first and foremost PLAYFUL, inspiring, beautiful and full of amazing, special projects for parents, grandparents, caregivers, teachers and more to create with and for the little ones in their life.

To accomplish this, I of course couldn’t do it alone. My specific vision for the book meant that I needed to find just the right photographer, stylists and designer who understood the look and feel of what I was going for. Brooke (former Art Director for Martha Stewart Kids) was already on board from the get-go as a designer (lucky lucky me!! It was her idea to have this fun confetti around the title page and I love it!) and I had a few ideas in mind for a photographer and stylist. After some back and forth I knew Nicole Gerulat was the perfect photographer for this book. She has an incredible eye, a way with children and can capture the most magical moments (and she happens to live just about 20 min away from me). In 2013 I met with her over lunch, oh just a few months before she was to give birth to her second child, to see if there was anyway she could fit in a book shoot that hot summer before, you know, having a baby and all. SOOO happy she said YES! (So lucky the shoot was local or it wouldn’t have happened…and I would have cried like a baby for months ;)). And you probably already know how much I love working with my dear friend Meta from One More Mushroom (one of the first times we met we talked for hours and hours – in fact we still have a hard time cutting off the chatting when we get together, making it hard go home and get on with things – our husbands just looove it, I’m sure). It’s no secret she has incredible taste and a killer eye for styling so naturally I wanted her to style to shoots. Our styles are different but complimentary and she understands what I gravitate to. Nicole suggested bringing Brittany Watson Jepsen, from The House that Lars Built, on board as well for wardrobe (as she had just moved to area). I couldn’t have been more thrilled with the idea. I’d been a fan of her blog and impeccable taste for quite some time as well. When I first met her I was so excited for this book and the possibly of having her on board, I was a bumbling fool, overwhelmed with my hyper enthusiasm. Lucky for me she was  game….and it’s been a magical collaboration ever since.

Gals behind Mer Mag's book PLAYFUL Toys and Crafts Made By Hand

All four of us met for lunch to launch this collaboration. My favorite part was when Meta and Brittany walked in, having never met before this point (in fact this was when I met Brittany as well) and both blondies were dressed in cute scandi/peasant dresses, swedish sandals, their hair in crown braids and practically matching leather totes. Nicole and I looked at each other and just nodded our heads as if to say “oh yeah, we picked the right combo for this job”. And boy did we ever. After meeting, sharing mood boards, ideas and more, we all got to work (and let me tell you these girls do what it takes to make things impeccable…making all my wildest dreams for this book come true and then some!). When I’d show up to the sets to help everything come together, I couldn’t have been more blown away. The things Meta would have put together were breathtaking…and the clothing Brittany had found fit the crafts and the styling so well. And then when nicole started snapping away, I was literally gasping with glee (is that possible?). I was beyond thrilled to see what she was able to capture. Seriously you guys, these ladies took this book to an entirely new level of Uh-mazing.

And on that note I’m thrilled to share a sneak peek of one of my favorite crafts/shoots from the book. My favorite little trapeze doll! I couldn’t get this idea out of my head (which actually came to life after a phone call with my sister when I made a doll with legs that were too long and I had to figure out where to go with her). Once discovering that she was always meant to be a big-top flyer the ideas started spinning. I had the idea of having a couple of dolls hanging form a trapeze in a little girls room. Would have been cute for sure, but then Meta came back with the brilliant idea of doing an overhead shot similar to her super hero photo booth that I collaborated with her on. I loved it immediately. Originally she envisioned a circus scene with the girls flying above it but decided to simplify to a simple circus tent opening to keep focus on the doll. I painted the tent, Brittany put together the darling Woven Play ensemble and had me paint some tights (cutest idea ever!), while Nicole climbed a tall ladder (at 8 months pregnant!) with all of us spotting her so she could take this phenomenal photo. The result = nothing short of playful magic.

Trapeze doll for Mer Mag's book PLAYFUL - out fall 2014. Photo by Nicole Gerulat

And the rest of the book is just as amazing! It’s so hard to keep it all under wraps as I’m dying to share it all. This fall can’t come soon enough! But stayed tuned as I’ll be sharing as many little updates as I can. Yippee!


*Update: PLAYFUL is now available for pre-order here!


January 21, 2014



  1. Reply

    Mari, Small for Big

    January 28, 2014

    I’m so excited for you and you so deserve this!!! I can’t wait to get it and be inspired/jealous of every single thing about it. Wish we’d had more time to chat at Alt, it’s always so great to run into you!

    • Reply


      January 28, 2014

      Thanks so much Mari! I’m so excited as well. It was so great to chat a bit with you too and hope to keep in touch.
      xo Mer

  2. Reply


    January 28, 2014

    Wonderful! I’ve always loved your blog. Congrats!

    • Reply


      January 28, 2014

      thanks Heather! xo Mer

  3. Reply


    January 28, 2014

    Congratulations!! I love your blog and can’t wait to read your book. I was at Alt, and secretly hoped I would run into you! Maybe next year…

    • Reply


      January 28, 2014

      Thanks Helen! Oh I wised I had run into you at ALT as well! keep in touch. xo Mer

  4. Reply


    January 28, 2014

    That’s wonderful news! Can’t wait to buy a copy! 🙂

  5. Reply

    Andrea Howe

    January 28, 2014

    Oh my word this is so exciting and beautiful! I was talking to Brittany at Alt and she was saying how beautiful the book was, and man was she right! Gorgeous! I can’t wait to get a copy! Congratulations 🙂

  6. Reply

    Lisa R

    January 28, 2014

    What a fantastic crew! It really looks amazing. I can’t wait to see the whole thing!

    • Reply


      January 28, 2014

      Thanks Lisa! It was so great to work with all these gals on it.

  7. Reply


    January 29, 2014

    Congratulations, Merrilee!! The book looks marvelous, and I can’t wait for it to come out!

    • Reply


      January 30, 2014

      Thanks dear! I can’t wait either :). xo Mer

  8. Reply


    January 29, 2014

    What a dream team! I would expect nothing short of perfection from you. Everything you create is inspiring and beautiful. I loved reading the story of how everything came together! I would have had to pull over and scream some more too!! Ashley’s little girl is so perfect in that photograph. I cannot wait!

    • Reply


      January 30, 2014

      Thanks Jen! I agree, Ashley’s little lady was THE perfect gal for this. Her hair! and she was a doll to work with. AND yes total dream team. I’m still pinching myself, feeling so lucky to have had these talented gals onboard. XO Mer

  9. Reply


    January 29, 2014

    This looks wonderful, Mer. Thanks for sharing the process of how it came to be, too–I’m always wondering about those kinds of details!

    • Reply


      January 30, 2014

      No problem Malia. I agree, I’m always wondering as well which is why I think it’s so beneficial we share. 🙂 xo Mer

  10. Reply


    January 30, 2014

    Oh my, this looks amazing! I hope I can put a hand on this book in Europe! The circus scene is just genius; made my day just to look at it! I usually don’t comment on blogs but this one I had to 🙂 congratulations!

    • Reply


      January 30, 2014

      thanks so much Marsida! I do believe it will be in Europe for sure but I’ll keep you posted! xo Mer

  11. Reply


    January 30, 2014

    Merrilee, I’m sooo excited for you, and for the whole world! I can’t wait to see this beautiful, colorful, amazing book in person this Fall!! Congratulations!!

    • Reply


      January 30, 2014

      Thanks Melissa! And so great chatting with you at ALT! Let’s stay in touch. xo Mer

  12. Reply

    Paula Gooding

    January 30, 2014

    Please add me to your blog list through email….Thanks!!!

  13. Reply


    January 31, 2014

    Bravo, Mer! What an accomplishment! You’re so talented and the book looks amazing. Looking forward to owning a copy!

  14. Reply

    lyndsay // coco cake land

    February 2, 2014

    merrilee that is the COOLEST! you have such beautiful, well designed and artful projects… can’t WAIT to check out the book! congratulations, it’s so well deserved! xo

  15. Reply


    March 23, 2014

    Hello Merrilee… Would it be possible to order the book online (I live in Europe and I would love to have something like that too) : )?

  16. Reply

    May 28, 2014

    Pretty nice post. I simply stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I have truly
    loved surfing around youyr blog posts. After all
    I will be subscribing to your feed and I am hoping you write agvain soon!

  17. Reply

    the best e cigarette

    May 30, 2014

    Hello! I’ve been following your website for a long time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Dallas Tx!
    Just wanted to tell you keep up the good work!

    • Reply


      May 30, 2014

      Thanks for the shout out! I love hearing from you guys. Stay cool in Dallas this summer. xo Mer

  18. Reply

    biofinite Skin

    May 7, 2015

    I’ll right away seize your rss feed as I can’t find your email subscription link or e-newsletter
    service. Do you have any? Please let me understand so
    that I may subscribe. Thanks.

  19. Reply

    vape vaping vapes vapor cigarettes ez vape vapor cigarette vaping vs smoking is vaping safe vapor smoke vaporizer cigarette how to vape cig vape vapor cigarettes canada vapor e cig smoking vapor water vapor cigarettes e cigarette vapor vapour smoke vape c

    June 18, 2015

    Hi, I read your blogs regularly. Your humoristic style is awesome,
    keep up the good work!

  20. Reply


    September 1, 2015

    If some one wishes to be updated with hottest technologies therefore he must be go to
    see this web site and be up to date all the time.

  21. Reply

    14:36 URL Redirect URL Sh

    September 7, 2015

    hola a todos colegas

  22. Reply

    κατάλογος seo

    September 13, 2015

    Excellent blog post. I absolutely love this website. Keep writing!

  23. Reply

    Elta MD

    October 13, 2015

    If you wish for to get a great deal from this post then you have to
    apply these methods to your won web site.

  24. Reply

    noticias cristianas

    October 18, 2015

    Awesome blog you have here but I was wondering if
    you knew of any forums that cover the same topics discussed here?

    I’d really like to be a part of community where
    I can get suggestions from other experienced people that
    share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know.
    Bless you!

  25. Reply

    thiết bị thủy lực

    June 4, 2016

    Hey! Quick question that’s totally off topic.
    Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My site
    looks weird when browsing from my iphone4. I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to correct this issue.

    If you have any suggestions, please share. Thanks!

  26. Reply


    July 1, 2016

    Hi there to every one, the contents present at this web page are really amazing for
    people experience, well, keep up the good work fellows.

  27. Reply

    venda e revanda de moto Santa Maria.

    August 31, 2016

    Obrigado pelo artigo! Muito interessante para nós do ramos.

  28. Reply

    Funny Quote hoodies

    October 15, 2016

    Some of these are flipping great!

  29. Reply

    blue water cooler solutions

    October 26, 2016

    Hello There. I discovered your weblog the use of msn. That is an extremely smartly written article.
    I will be sure to bookmark it and return to learn more of your useful info.
    Thanks for the post. I will certainly comeback.

  30. Reply


    October 26, 2016

    Simply wish to say your article is as amazing. The clarity on your submit is just spectacular and that i could think you’re a professional on this subject.
    Well along with your permission allow me to snatch your RSS feed to stay up to
    date with forthcoming post. Thanks 1,000,000 and please keep up
    the rewarding work.

  31. Reply

    pay someone to write my paper

    October 30, 2016

    My brother recommended I might like this web site.
    He was once totally right. This publish truly made my day.
    You cann’t consider just how so much time I had spent for this info!

  32. Reply


    November 8, 2016

    I’m impressed, I must say. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s equally educative and interesting, and without
    a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head.
    The problem is an issue that not enough folks are speaking intelligently about.

    I am very happy that I found this in my search for something relating to this.

  33. Reply

    Suplemen Pemutih

    May 4, 2017

    Hello, after reading this amazing piece of writing i
    am as well cheerful to share my knowledge here with friends.

  34. Reply

    pỏn vietnam

    February 13, 2019

    Excellent web site you have here.. It?s difficult to find good
    quality writing like yours nowadays. I really appreciate
    people like you! Take care!!


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.